Originality Specifications

1958 through 1960 Thunderbird

The following is an attempt to get some of the basic information regarding originality for Thunderbirds into the hands of all who want it and to do it for free.

If there is information you wish me to put here or if you find mistakes I should correct, please email me Here.

1958 1959 1960
Block, heads, intake, front cover, oil pan, 
water pump
light Ford Blue Black Black
Exhaust manifolds natural natural natural
Exhaust manifold bolts and washers locking tab washers locking tab washers locking tab washers
Air Cleaner (optional chrome) white white white
Valve Covers---352 
(optional chrome)
black light Ford Blue 
yellow(see below) 
Oil Fill Cap 
(optional chrome)
black black black
Radiator black black black
Surge Tank style & color smooth & black smooth & black smooth & black
Pan above radiator black black black
Radiator hose clamps 

Heater hose clamps

Corbin or Tangential 


Corbin or Tangential 


Corbin or Tangential 


Fan blade---without air cond. 
-----------with air cond.
4 blade white 
5 blade black
4 blade white 
5 blade black
4 blade white 
5 blade black
Power steering gearbox semi gloss black semi gloss black semi gloss black
Power steering pump 
black casting 
argent reservoir
black casting 
argent reservoir
black casting 
argent reservoir
Transmssion and bellhousing cast-not painted cast-not painted cast-not painted
Transmission tail housing aluminum not painted aluminum not painted aluminum not painted
Driveshaft natural natural natural
Engine compartment side walls 
and firewall
same as body color same as body color same as body color
Hood latches and cables light gold cad. plated light gold cad. plated light gold cad. plated
Hood hinges and springs same as body color same as body color same as body color
Starter and Generator black black black
Battery 29N 
27BF (optional HD)
27BF (optional HD)
27BF (optional HD)
Differential black housing 
red oxide carrier assy.
black housing 
red oxide carrier assy.
black housing 
red oxide carrier assy.
Wheels  black, no slots, 14"x5.5" black, no slots, 14"x5.5" black, no slots, 14"x5.5"
Shock Absorbers Bronze, Black 
or Silver
Bronze, Black 
or Silver
Bronze, Black 
or Silver
Steering Linkage, Springs 
and Stabilizer bar
Black except parts unique 
to standard steering are 
dark gray
Black except parts unique 
to standard steering are 
dark gray
Black except parts unique 
to standard steering are 
dark gray
Exhaust system duals duals 
430 has resonators
430 has resonators
Convertible top frame Tan or Black 
*special note below
matches bolster on seat black
Convertible top covering
Headliner white perforated white perforated white perforated 
Beige in Beige inter.

Top Frame

* special note regarding top frame color on '58-------There is at least one original example in existance that shows that Blue was also used on the cars with blue tops. This will probably also be reflected in the new concours rules soon to be published by the International Thunderbird Club.

Inside Rear View Mirror

The rear view mirror on a 58 did not have the day/night option. They only came in chrome or a painted backing. The baby bird parts houses have a very nice repro for the 57 that will look original except theat the stem is about one quarter inch shorter.
The 1960 used a heavy die cast chromed mirror with a twist button for day/night option.

Rubber Seals and Gaskets

For the most part all rubber seals and gaskets are natural black and not painted. These include the ones for the Headlamp doors, the fillers between the bumpers and the body, the hood and the cowl, etc.

Front Fender Ornaments

On the 59 and 60 the birds in the gunsight ornaments face the passenger side of the car

Hood Scoop Grillwork piece is aluminum and should be clean unpolished aluminum looking

Engine paint colors

For 1958 a real good match is Plasti-Kote Fast Dry Rust Not Enamel #368, Almond

The white for the engine items is Colonial White, same as the body color Colonial White

Valve Cover paint Color

Paint number for the yellow on the 1960 valve covers------------------

The Ditzler formula, called Med Bright Yellow for Ford, Bright Yellow for Lincoln (or the other way around), is:

DAR 2414
Dupont 5374

430 Engine Fuel Pump Push Rod

The shop manual only gives the travel of the pump eccentric cam lift as .25 (I believe). But, no specs on the push rod itself to check a used pushrod for wear (or cut a new one out of steel if you want to).

Note: The original Push Rod has a brass tip, but according to what I read on the Lincoln Forum, that was changed to solid steel after 1961 because of the wear factor of the brass tip. So, you could make one for someone out of steel on your lathe if needed.

So, here are the measurements of a brand new pushrod. I would write this down on the wall somewhere. You won't find it anywhere else -- at least I couldn't.

Length = 4.870" or 4 7/8"

Diameter = .373" or 3/8"


Windshield Washer Pump

58  units mounted to the left hand side of the  water pump (regardless of air or non air).
Some of the '59 models had it there and some on the generator already. This was true on all the 430 engines.
If the pump was installed by a Ford dealer as a replacement or an option then it would have been the generator type.
In 60 the unit was changed to mount on the generator (as was the case in 59 w/ 430 option).

Battery Info

27BF used an unusual top cover style hold down with one hole offset from center, because the squarebirds battery bracket required it.

Master Cylinder size change in 1960 Birds

Seems that on 6/9/61 the size of the master cylinder was changed from 1" to 7/8".

Brake Spring Kits--->I needed my rear brake springs on my '64 replaced as one broke. They could not find a direct replacement *but* found out that the brake spring kits from 1990 Lincoln Town Cars work fine and they installed a set on each rear wheel. These kits include auto-adjust. So try those. They work fine.
Peter J.

Locating the VIN number on the Squarebirds

1958 ----  the Data plate is located on the drivers side door hinge pillar. The VIN is also stamped on the frame rail on the drivers side just behind the upper control arm. If you open the hood and look down at the frame on the drivers side straight below the heater blower motor you should be able to find it . It is stamped into the top of that frame area.

1959 ---  The Data plate is located on the drivers side door hinge pillar. The VIN is also stamped

1958 Engine Coding

I have been following the question of date-coding '58 motors, and finally found time to offer what I'm aware of. According to Management Service Letter M-167a, the casting date of motor block for the 352 is supposed to be cast on the side or the front of the block, with the engine's assembly date stamped on a machined pad/boss just below and forward of the #1 cylinder exhaust port on the driver's front corner of the block (the dipstick tube passes by it).

Casting codes were also given in the bulletins. In '58, the block casting date can be found either on the front surface of the block to the right of the water pump or on the right side of the block in the area of the #1 cylinder. For instance, 8AS:2 translates into 8=1958; November; S=18th Day of Month; 2=Casting shift.

The coding should include year, month, work shift and date along with assembly plant code.

To quote the Bulletin for the casting date: "...codes use a number to indicate the year. The second figure may be either a number or letter to indicate the month as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0-A-B. The third symbol is either a screw head for Cleveland buit units (flat for the day shift or round for the night shift) or a letter for Dearborn built units to denote the day of the month (A through Z with the exception of I, and inverted A through F).

An illustration is also shown for the assembly date code. For example, it gives 3-8BFP. The first figure indicates the assembly plant (1-Cleveland Plant #1, 2-Cleveland Plant #2, 3-Dearborn Engine Plant); the second digit indicates year; third digit indicates month, and fourth digit indicates day. The fifth digit is a mark assigned to an inspector at the plant.

Therefore, 3-8BFP translates to: 3=Dearborn Engine Plant; 8=1958; B=February; F= 5th day of month; P=Inspector's Code

The 430's assembly date is supposed to be stamped on the block in front of the left head, according to the '60 bulletin M-204.

Additional cast codes on the block: DIF means Dearborn Industrial Foundry, while Cleveland-cast blocks have a C and L imposed on each other (similar to the symbol for Center Line). An engine's casting foundry can also be ID'ed as follows: all 352 blocks have the number 5750603 cast on the right side of the area of #1 cylinder: Dearborn cast this number upside down, Cleveland right side up. The 430's were all cast at Dearborn, have number 5752001 cast on the right side of the area of #1 cylinder and have "DIF" foundry marks.


Alan H. Tast ,AIA President, Vintage Thunderbird Club Int'l., Author, "Thunderbird 1955-66"

1958 Front Shock Configuration

On the 1958 Birds there are two mountings for shocks on the front of the car. One is inside the spring and the other is outboard of the spring. The car came from the factory with the shocks mounted outside the springs. The replacements that Ford offered were the type that went inside the springs as the 59 and up cars did. I believe that you will be able to install them either way if you can find shocks that fit and have it correct for concours judging due to this fact.

Shock Absorber Availability for Squarebirds

59-60 Rear Air Shocks Monroe #MA 739

Another Squarebird Website with lots of information and photos



For you who think I am the expert I want to warn you that I do not know everything about these cars. I am only posting what has already been determined by a large group of Thunderbird Enthusiast to be as close to original as we know it. Each club has different rules that they judge cars by at the shows and if you are competing in a show or intend to I highly recommend that you contact the club and get a copy of their judging rules so as to be able to know what you should do to be competitive in their event.

I also feel it is the clubs duty to provide these guidlines for its members so as to hold a fair judging for all participants. This has been my stand on this issue for many years and I feel it is one of the weakest areas of all the clubs for the '58 and up Thunderbirds.

To improve this situation I urge each of you to contact your clug hierarchy and bug them to increase their efforts in this area. As members and car owners the main thing we want in a club is information flow. Become active and get the info flowing.

That is what this website is all about. Please excuse any mistakes and help make the improvements with me.

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